If it seems like Burbank fire engines have an old-fashioned shine to
them, they do -- and two fire engineers are working to make sure it
stays that way.
Fire engineers Steve Sheehey and Terry Mencuri are in the process
of touching up the gold leafing on each of the department’s engines
and ladder trucks. The two men studied the involved process with Bob
Bond, a former Burbank resident who does the striping and gold
leafing on the department’s vehicles.
While many vehicles feature stickers that mimic the look of gold
leafing, Mencuri and Sheehey said it just doesn’t look as good as the
“It’s more traditional,” Sheehey said. “That’s the way they did
the old rigs and it’s just beautiful.”
The thin sheets of gold were originally applied to emergency
vehicles because they were reflective, making the trucks more
After Sheehey and Mencuri studied with Bond and practiced the
leafing technique on their own vehicles, they began working on the
department’s engines. So far, they have restored the gold on three
It takes about eight hours for the men to complete one vehicle.
First, they apply a special glue to the areas where the gold will be
used. They then press a thin layer of gold along that glue, but
before it has completely dried, they work small turns into the glue
to give the strips texture. After the gold has been texturized and
the glue has dried, they seal it with a layer of clear coat.
Mencuri and Sheehey work on the rigs during their days off using
material the department buys for them. While doing the work
themselves saves the department a few thousand dollars per truck,
Mencuri said they were drawn to it because of the craftsmanship
“For me, it’s about being able to stand back and look at the work
and know you were a part of it,” he said.
Mencuri also hopes the finished products are something citizens
will take pride in.
“Whenever you see a fire engine, they’re shiny and have that nice
appearance,” he said. “We try to keep it that way.”